A few months ago I wrote a short piece about Irish Sam, an Irish jihadist plying his trade in Syria and, one has to say plying his trade successively, as I haven't seen any reports of his death. He's related by marriage to Mahdi al Harati, who has also lived in Ireland for many years and, like his brother in law, has spent time in Syria, although he is better known for his 'work' in Libya as commander of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade.
It seems that al Harati is following a hallowed Irish tradition of going abroad to make their political fame and fortune. Think of America and Irish politicians for example and only one name will spring to mind - Kennedy. The only reason we remember the Kennedy's is the manner and regularity of their deaths, so there's a lot more interesting Irish American duckers and divers out there.
Take one Timothy Daniel Sullivan, a New York politician who controlled Manhattan's Bowery and Lower East Side districts as a prominent figure within Tammany Hall. He was euphemistically known as "Dry Dollar", as the "Big Feller", and, later, as "Big Tim". During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he controlled much of the city's criminal activities; or James Michael Curley in/famous for his four terms as Democratic mayor of Boston, and one term as Governor of Massachusetts. He also served twice in the United States House of Representatives. He also served two prison sentences but was so popular that he was re elected mayor whilst a guest of the state; or John Kelly of New York City, known, ironically of course, as "Honest John", boss of Tammany Hall and a U.S. Representative from New York during the mid 19th century where he was able to amass a vast fortune, estimated at $800,000 by 1867, through fair means and foul.
The list is almost endless of Irishmen who have left to make something of themselves, regardless of means and method, and whilst al Harati may not seem typical of the bunch, he does fit in, albeit a tad uncomfortably. Dependent on what you want to believe, al Harati is either a warrior for God, a CIA deep cover asset or had some involvement in the killing of Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya in 2012 - all equally disreputable and probable.
It seems that al Harati, who has been back in Libya since late 2012 was elected or selected by Tripoli's new municipal council to be mayor of Libya's capital. As the country descends further into sectarian and political chaos, the capital has a boss who has made his bones.